Visits, Workouts and What They Mean

Posted: April 12th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 160 Comments »

I don’t know when this became such a big thing, but tracking player visits, meetings and workouts is all over the place these days. I’ve been doing this since 2004, when a guy on the Eagles Message Board named Muddy Waters and I started keeping track.

I don’t know if I have the original list. Here is the one from 2005. Man were we proud of this. Lots of work went into tracking down all this info. We felt like spies, somehow knowing something we weren’t probably supposed to know.

2005 VISIT INFO

Guys who visited Philly

Khalif Barnes…………..OT……………………..Washington
Chris Colmer…………..OT……………………..NC State
Danny Martz……………OG……………………..Alabama
Evan Mathis…………….OG……………………..Alabama
Vincent Jackson……….WR……………………..Northern Colorado
Oshi Atogwe…………….S……………………….Stanford
Brandon Jacobs……RB/FB/TE………………….So. Illinois
Robert Douglas…………FB……………………..Memphis
Matt McCoy……………..LB………………………San Diego State
Stephen Cucci………….TE………………………Houston
Terrence Murphy………WR……………………..Texas A & M
Jamaal Brown…………..RT……………………..Oklahoma
Ronald Bartell…………..CB……………………..Howard (PHI invited him…he couldn’t make it)

Guys who the Eagles met with or had a private visit with

Jason Brown…………….C……………………….UNC
Kirk Morrison……………LB……………………..San Diego State
Marquis Weeks……….S/KOR…………………..Virginia
Adam Bergen……………TE……………………..Lehigh
Ryan Hoffman…………..DE…………………….Shippensburg St.
Ralph Plumb…………..WR/TE…………………..Yale
Luis Castillo……………..DT……………………..NW
Frank Omiyale………….OT………………………Tennessee Tech
Jonathan Goddard……LB/DE…………………..Marshall
Adam Seward…………..LB………………………UNLV
Matt Sinclair…………….LB……………………….Illinois
Scott Young……………..G………………………..BYU
Ryan Hawk………………QB……………………..Ohio
Mondoe Davis…………. LB………………………Delaware
Marviel Underwood……..S……………………….San Diego State
Chaz Williams…………..RB………………………Ga. Southern
Alfred Fincher…………..ILB………………………UConn
Roddy White…………….WR………………………UAB
Jerome Mathis…………..WR………………………Hampton
Matt Jones………………..WR……………………….Arkansas
James Sanders………….FS………………………..Fresno State
Matt Roth…………………DE……………………….Iowa
JJ Arrington………………RB……………………….Cal
Brodney Pool…………….S…………………………Oklahoma
Elton Brown………………G………………………….Virginia
Chase Lyman……………WR……………………….Cal
Logan Mankins…………G…………………..Fresno State
CJ Moseley……………..DT…………………Missouri

Guys who the Eagles heavily scouted

Alex Green……………….S……………………….Duke
Chris Roberson………….CB……………………..Eastern Michigan
Duvol Thompson………..CB………………………Penn
David Bergeron………….LB…………………….…Stanford
Ryan Riddle…………….DE/LB…………………….Cal
Ronnie Fields……………..DT………………………Miss. State
Kenneth Pettway…………LB………………………Grambling
Geir Gudmundsen……….OT………………………Albany
Dante Johnson…………WR/RS……………………Graceland (Iowa)
Tad Kornegay……………CB……………………..…Fordham
Daniel Leger………………S…………………………Colorado School of Mines
Chris Mooney…………….DE……………………….Delaware
Chris Jones……………….WR…………………….…Jackson State
Josh Dean…………………S/CB………………….…San Diego State
Sidney Haugabrook……..CB……………………….Delaware
Mike Abate………………..QB……………………….Southern Connecticut State
Chad Friehauf…………….QB………………………..Colorado School of Mines
Antoine Cash……………..LB………………………..Southern Miss
Danny Horace…………….TE………………………..Miami (O.)
Roger Robinson………….RB/RS…………………..Northern Arizona
Jamar Enzor……………….LB……………………….Cincinnati
Issa Banna………………..FB………………………..Northwestern State
Marcus Lawrence…………LB……………………….South Carolina
Ceandris Brown…………..S………………………. Louisiana-Lafayette
Antwainn Spann…………..S………………………..Louisiana-Lafayette
Kyle Eckel………………….FB……………………….Navy
Barrett Ruud………………LB……………………….Nebraska
Jonas Crafts……………….TE……………………….UTEP
Michael Munoz…………….T…………………………Tennessee
Earl Charles……………….RB……………………….Marshall
Eric Shelton……………….RB………………………..Louisville
Ukee Dozier……………….CB……………………….Minnesota
Andy Thorn………………..TE………………………..Northern Iowa

Guys who the Eagles are rumored to be interested in

Chris Henry
DeMarcus Ware
Ciatrick Fason
Frank Gore
Kevin Burnett

How is that for a trip down memory lane?

Old time friends and readers might recall Jamar Enzor’s name. I obsessed on that kid, just sure that he was going to be the next Seth Joyner. I liked his teammate Trent Cole quite a bit, but I loved Enzor. The only thing standing between him and a Pro Bowl filled career was…reality. Ugh. Can’t stand reality. If it is true that there are infinite universes, I want to go live in the one where Megan Fox and I can attend Enzor’s enshrinement at Canton.

Okay, enough reminiscing.

The point of tracking player interest is to know the specific players the Eagles are interested in, but also the positions, the types of players and the value of the positions.

Let’s take a look at my compilation of visit/interest info for this year.

PLAYERS WITH NOVACARE VISITS

QB Dak Prescott, Mississippit State
QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
QB Jared Goff, Cal
QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis

RB Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
RB Paul Perkins, UCLA

WR Mike Thomas, Southern Miss
WR Kolby Listenbee,  TCU
WR DeMarcus Robinson, Florida
WR Malcolm Mitchell, Georgia

ILB Steven Daniels, Boston College

LB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Va
LB Deion Jones, LSU

CB Rashard Robinson, LSU
CB Cyrus Jones, Alabama
CB Darryl Worley, West Va

PRIVATE WORKOUTS / VISITS

QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State
QB Jared Goff, Cal
QB Paxton Lynch, Memphis
QB Kevin Hogan, Stanford
QB Dalyn Williams, Dartmouth (met with him at Pro Day)
QB Christian Hackenberg, Penn State (at his Pro Day, also private workout)

RB Jordan Howard, Indiana (Duce Staley ran his Pro Day workout)
RB Jacobi Green, Richmond (met with him at his Pro Day per Tony Pauline)

WR Ricardo Louis, Auburn (Greg Lewis worked him out at Pro Day)
WR Duke Williams, Auburn (Greg Lewis worked him out at Pro Day)
WR Andy Jones, Jacksonville (met w/ him for hour at Pro Day)
WR Reginald Diggs, Richmond (met with him at his Pro Day per Tony Pauline)
WR Chris King, Duquesne (met with him at Pro Day)
WR Leontee Carroo, Rutgers (met with him at Combine, also private workout)
WR Brandon Zylstra, Concordia (met with him at his Pro Day)
WR Chris Moore, Cincinnati (private workout)

TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State (met with him per Tony Pauline)
TE Jerrell Adams, South Carolina (met with him at his Pro Day)
TE Devin Cajuste, Stanford (private workout)
TE Hakeem Valles, Monmouth (at local Pro Day)
TE David Morgan, UTSA (private workout)
TE David Grinnage, NC State (in-depth meeting)

OL Joe Dahl, Washington State (private workout)
OL Josh Garnett, Stanford (workout per Tony Pauline)
OL Kyle Murphy, Stanford (workout per Tony Pauline)
OL Graham Glasgow, Michigan (private workout)
OL Connor McGovern, Missouri (private workout)
OL Evan Boehm, Missouri (private workout)
OL Darrell Greene, SDSU (private workout)
OL Dan Bucholz, Duquesne (private workout)

DE Dean Lowry, Northwestern (DL coach at his Pro Day per Gil Brandt)
DE Ron Thompson, Syracuse (worked out at his Pro Day)
DE Matt Judon, Grand Valley State (worked out by DL coach at his Pro Day)
DE Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland (at his Pro Day, also visit)

DT Quinton Jefferson, Maryland (workout per Tony Pauline)
DT Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State (DL coach at his Pro Day per Tony Pauline)
DT Greg Milhouse, Campbell (met with him at his Pro Day per Tony Pauline)
DT David Onyemota, Manitoba (worked out by Eagles per Tony Pauline)
DT Maliek Collins, Nebraska (DL coach at his Pro Day per Gil Brandt)
DT Vincent Valentine, Nebraska (DL coach at his Pro Day per Gil Brandt)
DT Adam Gotsis, Georgia Tech (met with Eagles)

LB Nick Kwiatkoski, West Va (workout at Pro Day per Tony Pauline)
LB Terrell Williams, Youngstown State (Eagles showing interest per Tony Pauline)
LB Quentin Gause, Rutgers (met with him per Tony Pauline)
LB Joe Schobert, Wisconsin (LB coach at his Pro Day per Gil Brandt)
ILB Steven Daniels, Boston College (workout per Tony Pauline)
ILB Blake Martinez, Stanford (private workout)

S Darian Thompson, Boise State (workout per Tony Pauline)
S Justin Simmons, Boston College (private workout)
S Stefan McClure, Cal (private workout)

CB Kalan Reed, Southern Miss (met with him on campus)

For all of the info by Tony Pauline, click here. Great link for Pro Day/workout info.

Let’s talk about what some of this means.

Clearly the Eagles are looking for a QB. They are checking out the big dogs and doing so thoroughly. You might wonder why the team would go work out Wentz and Goff and then have them come to Philly. Having the players at the NovaCare gets them out of their comfort zone and can help the team to judge them. They can also do any medical checks they want. There are no workouts when players come to Philly, only interviews and film reviews/whiteboard sessions.

The Eagles are going to draft a QB. That’s why they are looking at a lot of them. If they miss on the top group, they have mid and late round targets of interest.

The Eagles need RB help, but they are being choosier at that position. They don’t need a body. They need someone with starter potential. That should rule out a lot of role player types. One thing all the runners have in common is physicality. Even the Richmond kid. I’ve watched him run over defenders.

WR is pretty obvious. The Eagles want speed. They do seem to be focusing on mid to late round targets.

It is interesting to see the team looking at TEs. I don’t know how much interest they have in adding one, but it maybe a case where if a player has a high enough grade and is on the board, he’s too good to pass up.

No O-linemen have come to Philly. I’m not sure what to make of that. I guess the research done in scouting visits, all star games, the Combine and private workouts has told the team all they need to know.

On to defense. The Eagles are interested in mid to late round DEs. The team has young guys in Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham. It doesn’t make sense that they would feel the need to add another young DE with a high pick. If someone falls and they like him, maybe. Right now they seem more interested in guys in rounds 5 through 7.

DT is a bit of a different story. The Eagles are looking at guys who could be 3rd round targets, as well as other prospects who might go later. All of them have the ability to penetrate and make plays.

At LB, the team is looking for someone to backup Jordan Hicks in the middle. They are checking out some physical players. The one exception is Jones, the speedy kid from LSU. I’m sure Jim Schwartz is fascinated by his potential.

My guess is that the Eagles are looking at a lot more Safeties and we’re just not hearing about it. They need depth and a player to develop for the future.

The Eagles have lots of bodies at CB so they seem to be checking out guys with something unique about them. Robinson is a long, athletic corner who will slide a bit, but could be a steal if he can put it all together. Jones has great ball skills. Worley is just a local kid so I think that’s the only reason he’s coming in.

One thing to keep in mind. Howie Roseman worked under Tom Heckert, who admitted that the Eagles would bring in a couple of players they had no interest in. They wanted to keep other teams confused. I would bet that there are a couple of players the Eagles don’t like at all who will be coming to Philly. And the Eagles will make sure to leak their names to the press. Gotta have that info out there for it to work.

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Understanding the Odds

Posted: April 10th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 257 Comments »

Will the Eagles get a QB with pick 8? Will they trade up to get one, even to the top pick? Will they wait and target a QB in the middle rounds? Is there some late round prospect they like a lot?

There is a lot of confusion when we talk about QBs.

For some reason, many people seem to think there isn’t that much difference in the guys in the Top 10 picks and those that will go later in the draft. I understand that we all love sleepers and underdogs, but QB is a spot where you go big.

You may think a 5-star restaurant is overrated and prefer the mom ‘n’ pop diner down the way. Chances are, I’d agree with you. When it comes to your lawyer or your doctor, you want the guy from Harvard. You want the guy with the fancy office and the huge reputation. You don’t shop around for a sleeper or underdog.

QB is the same way. The odds favor you if you go get the prospect with the great resume and the high draft ranking. I wrote about this for PE.com.

Someone commented under the piece that Jacoby Brissett reminded them of Donovan McNabb. Both are 230 pounds. Both are athletic. Both have strong arms. That’s where things stop for me. Brissett went to Florida. Things didn’t pan out so he transferred to NC State. He started there for 2 years and did a nice job for the Wolfpack.

McNabb started for 4 years for Syracuse and set school and conference records. He led SU to major bowls and had an amazing career. McNabb then went to the Senior Bowl and looked great playing for Jon Gruden. He showed the ability to handle the West Coast Offense and handle pro coaching.

QB is a position where accomplishment matters. Potential isn’t meaningless, but it isn’t the same as with other positions. Jimmy Graham played football for one season at Miami and then became one of the most dynamic TEs in the NFL almost instantly. Richard Sherman went from WR at Stanford to project at CB. He got to the NFL and is the best corner in the league. JJ Watt was a TE at Central Michigan. They wanted to move him to OT. He decided to transfer to Wisconsin, where shifted to DE. He is now the most dominant defender on the planet.

QB isn’t like that. You need years and years of training to succeed at that position.

I’m not saying that late round picks and sleepers never pan out, but the odds are stacked against them. Kurt Warner is the ultimate lottery ticket. It could be years, even decades, before something like that ever happens again.

We tend to focus on Tom Brady, the former 6th round pick who is arguably the greatest QB of all time. But go back and look at his college career. He was fantastic at Michigan. It is a bizarre miracle that he slid as far as he did. I point out all of his accomplishments in the piece. He left UM as one of the best QBs in school history. I can’t tell you how different his story is from Cardale Jones, Christian Hackenberg, Vernon Adams, Dak Prescott and some of the other guys people seem to love this year.

There is nothing wrong with choosing a favorite mid or late round QB. I’ve done it. But you can sure as heck bet that I prefer the guys at the top of the draft. At the bottom of the draft, you are a lot more likely to find Andy Hall than Tom Brady.

*****

Tired of hearing about QBs? Okay.

Watch this Carson Wentz video…but focus on Montant DE Tyrone Holmes (#91).

Holmes plays RDE and LDE.

You will see a bit of Trent Cole in his game. Holmes uses a good burst off the ball, but I also love how physical he is. There were some plays where he just dominated the OTs.

Holmes would be a good late round target for the Eagles. He’s only 6-2, 253. That’s not the size Jim Schwartz usually prefers, but something tells me he would love Holmes game tape.

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I Know That You Know That I Know

Posted: April 9th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 221 Comments »

Paralysis by analysis.

That’s where I am after reading this piece by Jason La Canfora.

The more I hear about the Eagles and quarterbacks — Carson Wentz is the flavor du jour today — the more I continue to believe they will be looking to trade down, pick up draft picks, and address other positions in the draft. I’m not buying any of this, and I continue to hear from shrewd execs on other teams that they believe this is all for show from Philly as well.

Here is some food for thought — from the start of the 2015 league year until the start of the 2016 league year — the Eagles spent $201 million on payroll in real dollars, way more than any other team in the NFL (Miami was next at $187 million, according to NFL management council figures). That includes their big splurge on QB Sam Bradford and re-signing Vinny Curry and Zach Ertz and all of those guys, and it doesn’t even include the big bucks they gave backup QB Chase Daniel.

Owners don’t do that to then go out, in a year in which they are clearly in win-now mode in a watered-down NFC East, and then go spend another $25 million on a quarterback in the draft when they still have many other needs.

Sorry, I’m not buying it. Follow the money.

Maybe I end up being completely wrong — wouldn’t be the first time; won’t be the last — but I remain a staunch skeptic on this Eagles/quarterback thing. I smell a trade.

La Canfora is friendly with Howie Roseman. And that’s where the trouble comes in. Is JLC doing a good job of reading the situation and providing some quality analysis?

Or did Howie have his buddy put this piece out to help throw other teams off the scent? There have been all kinds of reports about the Eagles wanting to move up. The one guy who happens to strongly object is the writer who is friendly with the GM of that team. Coincidence?

Maybe.

And that’s the problem. I don’t know how to read this report. It could be legit or it could be somewhat of a planted piece. And do understand that Howie understands how to use the media. This is the season of both information and mis-information. If he thinks he can do something to help the Eagles, he will do it.

Let’s move past the thinking behind the piece for now.

It would be interesting for the Eagles to move back and add a 2nd rounder. It is possible the team could move back and Paxton Lynch could still be on the board. If the Eagles are in “win now” mode as JLC seems to think, the team could go for a position of more immediate need.

Maybe they go for CB Eli Apple or Mackensie Alexander.

They could add OL Jack Conklin or Cody Whitehair, with the hope they could win the LG job as rookies.

DTs like Sheldon Rankins and Vernon Butler could be targets in the middle of the 1st round. That may not seem like a position of need, but just think back to the playoffs and how Denver used a slew of pass rushers to overwhelm opponents on the way to winning the Super Bowl.

The Eagles could consider investing another 1st round pick in a WR.

Normally I’m a big fan of moving back and adding extra picks. I would prefer the Eagles stay at pick 8 if a QB is on the board. If both are gone, things get trickier. In that case, I’d be open to moving back and adding another pick.

Only a few more weeks until we actually get some action. Until then, expect continued over-analyzing of every word that comes out in regard to the Birds.

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A Pet Peeve

Posted: April 8th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 78 Comments »

PE.com is doing some excellent pre-draft material, with all kinds of interviews and video segments on prospects. In this one, the great Fran Duffy and Greg Cosell discuss the Safety position and some prospects.

Cosell is looking for a Safety that can hit, tackle, play in the box, play deep, cover in the slot and turn water into wine when attending a wedding that needs that particular trick. Every person in the Milky Way galaxy would love a Safety like that. The problem is that I’m not sure that player exists right now.

This is a pet peeve for me. Don’t obsess on something that doesn’t exist. Focus on what a player does well. You wouldn’t want Kam Chancellor in the slot, but he’s an incredibly important player for the Seattle defense. You can have success, even great success, with players who have some limitations. You need them to be very good in some area and then have the right players around them. Earl Thomas and Chancellor complement each other very well and together form an incredibly good duo.

The friggin’ Panthers had success with Roman Harper, approximately 237 years old, and Kurt Coleman as their Safeties.

Cosell does make the point that coaches have to make adjustments to deal with the limitations of their players. He understands that teams can make it work with players who have holes in their game. That’s why I don’t get his immediate focus on the issues with prospects.

Karl Joseph looks like one heckuva prospect to me, but Cosell goes right to the question of whether he can cover man-to-man. I guarantee you Sean McDermott would kill to have a Safety with Joseph’s overall ability and skill set.

You do have to point out the weaknesses of prospects, but I guess I just don’t get the lack of enthusiasm for all the things some of these kids do very well.

If I was the coach or GM of a team, I know I’d be a heck of a lot more interested in what these prospects can do than what they can’t do.  Read the rest of this entry »


Lynch in the Mix?

Posted: April 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 213 Comments »

What happens if the Browns take Carson Wentz and the Niners take Jared Goff? We’ve talked about the Eagles taking Ezekiel Elliott or Vernon Hargreaves, amongst others.

What about Paxton Lynch?

Most people are going to have him rated as the #3 QB, but what does that mean in terms of overall value. I doubt many teams are going to have him rated as a Top 10 prospect. That said, I do think you can make an argument for using a Top 10 pick on him.

I’ve talked before about the danger of a team talking itself into taking a QB. Examples of this that I have mentioned are E.J. Manuel, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. So that you know this isn’t revisionist history, let’s see what I said about them at the time. Let’s start with Manuel. My Eagles Draft Preview listed him as a 2nd rounder (based on how I thought they might have him graded…I didn’t like him even that much). This comment sums up my thoughts.

Please Avoid These Players

QB EJ Manuel – Florida State … Still a project. I doubt he ever develops.

You can also ask Jimmy Bama my thoughts on Manuel. Any time I want to insult a QB prospect, I tell Jimmy that the guy reminds me of Manuel.  Read the rest of this entry »